A hundred and twenty years ago, Swami Vivekananda was a famous Hindu monk, who had toured America and was giving a series of lectures around the UK about his beliefs. By openly discussing his own particular philosophy, Swami is credited with raising interfaith awareness and introducing Indian philosophy, including Yoga, to the western world.

Here are some great quotes I have discovered:

“Whatever you think, that you will be.
If you think yourself weak, weak you will be;
if you think yourself strong, you will be.” 

“Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life; dream of it; think of it; live on that idea. Let the brain, the body, muscles, nerves, every part of your body be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success…”

“The essence of Vedanta (the form of Hinduism that Swami practiced) is that there is but one Being and that every soul is that Being in full, not a part of that Being”. He also said: “The greatest religion is to be true to your own nature. Have faith in yourselves.”

meI’m the girl that was picked last for every team sport.


I’m the girl that came in dead last when we ran the trails in PE.


When I was younger I thought of myself as a weak, girly girl.


I hated running then and I still hate it now. I was not competitive then and I am not competitive now.


I grew up in a trailer where everyone in my family chain smoked.

I probably second hand smoked 4 packs a day before I moved out at 18.

In their defense, this was still back when no one talked about how bad smoking is for you.


I thought I was destined to be unfit and unathletic and slightly pudgy my entire life. I live in Port Angeles Washington, very, very Northwest corner of the USA, a small town of 20,000 about 2 hours away from Seattle.


Then in my early 20’s I made a new friend that was a fitness instructor. She coerced me into joining the YMCA with her. I discovered aerobics… and I was GOOD at it. I have rhythm. I can move. I can dance! And it’s fun!


It changed my life. It altered how I saw myself. It even changed the course of my life.

When I started, I was out of shape and had never really been an “exerciser”. I loved aerobics right away but it took me awhile to feel competent. I went to class for a couple years and then started teaching at the urging of my good friend Michelle that I started going to the why with. She was an instructor and trained me and she is also a big reason I am where I am today.

I am still at the same YMCA 24 years later and I have been a fitness instructor for 21 years.

high lunge 

I teach just about everything offered- cycling, weights, dance, step, etc. And I am good at what I do. I’m good at it because I love it. I try to make it fun for my class participants. For the last year and a half I have also been the Health and Wellbeing Coordinator, in charge of our fitness department. I work at the Olympic Peninsula YMCA – http://clallamcountyymca.org/ 

If anyone had been able to see into the future and tell me this would be the job I would have and enjoy 40 hours a week I would never have believed it.


Some of my past PE teachers have even came to my classes … oh, and I kicked their butts…. with a smile of course.

Trying something new- aerobics- changed my life. Listening to the positive advice of a good friend telling me to start working out changed my life.

YMCA I’m 48 and I feel better than I did at 18.

Every day brings new opportunities to be better in some way, stronger in some way, to try something new and different.
To break out of your self- imposed box.
Never miss a chance at a better life.
And hopefully, along the way, you make the lives of others better also.
And you have fun…

the photo above are breast cancer awareness cycling class- everyone wore pink, I taught and we made a couple hundred bucks for a local charity.

the photo above are breast cancer awareness cycling class- everyone wore pink, I taught and we made a couple hundred bucks for a local charity.


I teach 5 weeks of yoga to the college boys basketball team every fall, the Pirates

I teach 5 weeks of yoga to the college boys basketball team every fall, the Pirates



What got me into Yoga

I first started going to yoga around ten years ago when I was at University in Brighton, I’d had some health problems which started just prior to this which led to fatigue, weakness with feelings of brain fog, which made it difficult to concentrate. I was diagnosed with ME (/Chronic fatigue syndrome) and recommended yoga to help ease these symptoms. After I finished University and came back to Sheffield I got more into yoga and decided to train as a teacher. I did this in an Ashram (Hindu monastery) just outside Dehli, which felt like the right thing to do with yoga originating in India. I spent six weeks over there and completed Hatha yoga teacher training. I now take part in yoga classes on a regular basis and feel much stronger physically and mentally through doing yoga. Some of the benefits of yoga include improved posture, flexibility, toning, relaxation and detoxifying the body. I mostly go to hatha classes but also enjoy or have tried Iyengar, Dru, Ashatanga and Kundalini. All classes I’ve been to have included some posture (asana) work as well as some breath work (pranayama).


In a Hatha yoga class a series of postures (asanas) will be carried out to help improve flexibility and balance. It also uses breath work throughout and generally has a relaxation at the end. I go to Sophia’s beginner’s yoga class every Monday and, even though I’m not a beginner, the level which it is taught as is perfect for me. I’ve also enjoyed going to to Eric’s (Sunmoon) and Leonie’s classes.



Yoga in the Adalucia Mountains Spain! (Dancer’s pose – Natarajasana)


Iyengar uses props such as belts, blocks and bolsters which aid with correct alignment in the postures. The Iyengar School in Walkley has lots of classes aimed at different groups, such as therapeutic yoga for people with health problems or serious injuries. I’ve also enjoyed going to Monica’s classes (Zagyoga), who has a new studio at Harland works, on John Street.



“Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured” – B.K.S Iyengar


Dru classes usually start with the energy block release system which involves moving different parts of the body to release tension and also includes positive affirmations and flowing sequences. I’ve really enjoyed going to Kellys Classes at Hagglers corner.




Ashatanga yoga, sometimes referred to as Ashatanga Vinyasa is more dynamic and involves synchronising the movement and the breath, it is named after the eight limbs of yoga which is covered in the yoga sutras of Patanjali. I’ve been to Ashatanga classes at various gyms across Sheffield and I’ve been to Reach for other yoga classes and also yoga in Encliffe park for summer solstice and International Yoga day.



Yoga at encliffe park by Yoga at Reach (Warrior pose – Virabhadrasana)


Kundalini focuses on breath and movement with the aim of releasing the energy stored at the base of the spine. I first tried it at Peace in the Park last summer with Nina, who teaches at Breathe Pilates in Broomhill and have since enjoyed going to Emma’s classes a few times.



Kundalini yoga teacher Emma (Tree pose – Vriksasana)

Classes vary from around £5 to £9 drop in and some places offer a reduced rate for booking a block of classes. There are plenty more amazing teachers and classes and also types of yoga around Sheffield at various gyms. There also seems to be more and more yoga studios in and around Sheffield, I’m still looking to try classes at Amys Ashram (Dore), Hot Yoga Sheffield (Crookesmoor) , Instinctive health (Kehlam Island) and Yoga Hut (Meersbrook). Finally, there is also a group on Facebook where people can post about new classes and workshops etc; called ‘Yoga Sheffield’.

Thanks for reading! My details..:)


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Sun Salutation sequence – Surya Namaska